At Shores Family Dentistry, we are committed to not only providing our patients with the best dental care in the area, but also with educating them on their own oral health. Today, we would like to talk about periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Often called a “silent disease” because symptoms do not appear until the advanced stages, gum disease is serious and requires care. Our dentist office in Fort Collins encourages all people, especially those at risk for gum disease, to come in for regular checkups to catch warning signs before they become painful, expensive, and destructive problems.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis all essentially mean the same thing is happening inside of your mouth: a serious infection of the gums and soft tissue around the teeth. This infection can range from tender, inflamed gums to loss of bone tissue that supports teeth. Gum disease can start slow and be undetectable in the early stages, but once it advances it’s a fast and steep slope.
Gingivitis is the most mild form of gum (periodontal) disease. Thankfully, if caught early, gingivitis can be controlled and the damage can be reversed with proper care. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is what gingivitis turns into if it is not taken care of. Periodontitis occurs when plaque and tartar build up below the gum line and the disease attacks the bone structure. The gums separate from the teeth and form pockets, causing the disease to advance exponentially in a small amount of time. If untreated, you may need to have teeth extracted. We don’t mean to scare you, but gum disease is very serious and can contribute to an array of other health problems. The sooner you get in to see us, the sooner our periodontal experts can ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.
The actual cause of gum disease is a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene and avoiding trips to the dentist office for teeth cleaning. While this is the actual cause, there are several risk factors that contribute to gum disease.
Risk Factors For Gum Disease
While periodontal disease is often caused by a buildup of plaque and a lack of oral hygiene, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of perio. The biggest risk factor is age. In fact, nearly ¾ of Americans over the age of 65 have some form of gum disease. Other risk factors include smoking, poor nutrition, stress, genetics, diabetes, heart disease, and teeth grinding.
Warning Signs Of Gingivitis And Periodontal Disease
Unfortunately, gum disease often doesn’t give you grief until it is at an advanced stage. This is just one of the reasons that we put so much emphasis on preventative dentistry. If you visit your dentist twice a year, we can keep an eye on your oral health and catch any signs of gum disease before you do. Here are just some of the warning signs of gum disease that you may notice in the advanced stages:
- Swollen and tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing and flossing
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Loose teeth
- Changes in teeth structure/fitment
- Changes in the way your partial dentures fit
Again, prevention and catching the disease early is key to saving your teeth and your wallet if you are experiencing periodontal disease.
How To Prevent Periodontal Gum Disease
Preventing gum disease before it happens, as well as preventing it from advancing, is easier than you may think. Obviously, risk factors like genetics cannot be controlled, but knowing your risk factors can help you make smart decisions about your oral health. Here are some things you definitely can do to help prevent gum disease:
- Brush your teeth after meals for at least two minutes each time
- Use a mouthwash to help reduce plaque and further clean teeth
- Floss between teeth at least once per day
- Make an appointment with a periodontist
Visit Our Fort Collins Dentist Office Today
At Shores Family Dentistry, we have a team of dentists, hygienists, and assistants dedicated to your oral health. Our friendly and welcoming office makes it a little less scary to go to the dentist, especially if it has been a while since you’ve been in. Don’t wait for periodontal disease to worsen. Schedule an appointment today for an exam and cleaning at Shores Family Dentistry.